Opinion: Wearables are raising the bar for athletes
(Image Credit: William Murphy)
The athlete stands on a platform surrounded by thousands of spectators, tense with expectation. In front of him is a barbell loaded with 750 pounds. He failed his first attempted lift, but with close monitoring from his coach, using technology that senses form and muscle recruitment, he is able to adjust his strategy in between sets. The lifter can now approach the 750-pound bar with confidence, knowing how to better utilize his gluteal muscles from the information provided by his mobile app. This sort of technology, that closely analyzes intricate details of performance, is paving the way for more efficient workouts and better fixes to faulty performance.
The IoT is enabling the development of wearable technology which provides athletes with precision statistics in regards to muscle exertion, heart rate, form and more. In the future, this sort of technology can provide a strategic communication tool between athletes and coaches. Single-mode LTE technology, facilitating a faster wireless connection between devices and the IoT than legacy networks, are an intrinsic part of this evolution. With a connectivity speed that allows devices to upload and download data quickly, advanced LTE chipsets can now power tracking devices efficiently and cost-effectively to the point that athletic performance could see a major uptick.
Here are just three examples of how IoT-driven devices can assist in different extreme sports.
- Ironman Triathlons: Arguably one of the most physically taxing races in the world, an Ironman triathlon certainly pushes participants to their true thresholds. Comprising a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, the endurance test leaves a lot of room for error in athletic performance. With the average Ironman lasting 12 hours and 35 minutes, it is important that competitors have a well-developed race strategy. Utilizing wearables that track heart rate and distance, and even recommend recovery times, can only aid in the process.
- Mixed Martial Arts: Physically speaking, an athlete performing in mixed martial arts (MMA) must boast a myriad of different capabilities to be successful. An MMA fighter must be explosive off the mat, hard-hitting, agile and well-conditioned. IoT-connected devices enable MMA fighters to measure their punch speed, power and the type of punch – all in real time. Consequently, a fighter can adjust his or her technique mid-practice (devices aren’t permitted in competition), thus translating collected data into a game plan better tailored to the individual’s specific performance. To take it a step further, wearable tech can even enable the identification of which muscles are being used when, and the fighter’s rate of recovery. These innovative technologies will allow professional athletes to take their performance to the next level by thoroughly analyzing all aspects of the data collected.
- Skateboarding: In skateboarding, technicality is key. The data collected from tracking an athlete’s vitals are relevant. But what is even more pertinent is the ability to track their actual movements. With specific IoT-connected devices that clip onto boards, a skateboarder can now record his or her positioning, jump height, speed, rotation and much more. In addition, the devices also allow users to see 3-D animated versions of themselves doing maneuvers. The animation is produced from the device based on collected data. This sort of insight into specific trick performance enables users to, literally, learn from their mistakes.
All of these innovative technologies will likely take sports performance to a higher level — but not without top-notch and cost effective connectivity. By implementing optimized LTE chipsets into IoT-connected devices, the speed at which the devices are able to perform is much higher. After all, if professional athletes are using devices to increase their performance, their devices should be up to the task.
Do you think wearables can enable a new level of athleticism? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.